Wounds: How wheatgrass (probably) accelerates healing

Orthodox method of wound management

Exudate is the clear liquid that "leaks" from a wound surface. It supplies essential nutrients to cells involved in the wound-healing process. (1) if allowed to dry, it can adhere to the overlying wound dressing making it difficult to remove.

However, if wheatgrass extract is applied to the wound before the dressing is applied, adhesion is prevented.

The orthodox approach to wound healing is rather mechanical. For instance, keeping the wound moist is an old concept based mainly on clinical observation and wishful thinking that the wound will heal more quickly. Because cells grow faster in moist Petri dishes doesn't mean they will do the same in open wounds.

Exudate production is essential for healing to commence, but it is sticky and can readily adhere to dressings, making them difficult to remove.

If there was such a thing as an ideal wound-healing facilitator, it would :

  1. Seal the wound surface to retain exudate.
  2. Prevent dressings adhering to the wound surface.
  3. Prevent infection.
  4. Reduce inflammation.
  5. Accelerate healing.
  6. Prevent or reduce pain.
  7. Reduce or eliminate scarring.

Does such a remedy exist?

Well, yes. Applying wheatgrass extract to an open or partially healed wound before applying a dressing, will not only facilitate healing, but also prevent adherence of the dressing to the wound. Wheatgrass achieves this by “sealing” the wound surface (quite rapidly) which then reduces exudate erosion of surrounding skin as well as protect the wound from infection.

It may be that wheatgrass extract "signals" the brain prompting it to produce growth factors in the area of injury as well as reduce inflammation and pain as well as accelerating the healing process.

In summary, by applying wheatgrass extract to the wound, we may see:

  • Accelerated regrowth and recovery of tissue.
  • A dry, non-adherent surface. (Dressing doesn't adhere to wound surface.)
  • Greater ease of self-management.
  • Minimal (if any) antibiotic requirement.
  • Significant cost and time saving for the patient, medical staff etc..
  • Safety of use.

In summary, since the 1930’s, long before they were described by scientists (2) cereal grasses were thought to contain “growth factors”.  These factors were observed to stimulate re-epithelialisation and recovery of acute wounds and burns. (3, 6-10) Cereal grasses including wheatgrass were also used for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Wound healing - Standard wound dressing method

Fig. 1. Orthodox method of wound treatment where the dressing absorbs exudate which then dries and adheres to the wound surface making removal difficult and painful and damages the wound surface.
Fig. 1. Orthodox method of wound treatment where the dressing absorbs exudate which then dries and adheres to the wound surface making removal difficult and painful and damages the wound surface.

Wound healing - Wheatgrass extract method

Fig. 2. Wheatgrass method of wound treatment. The open wound is visibly “sealed off” by a thin overlying layer of skin cells (thick line) which prevents exudate leakage from eroding surrounding skin and preventing adherence to the overlying dressing.
Fig. 2. Wheatgrass method of wound treatment. The open wound is visibly “sealed off” by a thin overlying layer of skin cells (thick line) which prevents exudate leakage from eroding surrounding skin and preventing adherence to the overlying dressing.

An important healing attribute of wheatgrass is its ability to createl a layer of new epithelial cells across open wound surfaces in as little as 24 hours. This seals the wound surface and prevents exudate leakage, which is erosive, from damaging the surrounding skin.

Wound recovery continues underneath the "new skin" layer, and, because the dressing does not adhere to the wound, it is readily removed. Also, there is rapid recovery of re-vascularisation (acceleration of blood flow crucial to the healing process) and re-epithelialisation (skin surface recovery) so that exudate, which is essential for wounds to heal, is conserved.

There is no doubt in my mind that wheatgrass extract is an effective, safe and economical wound-healing facilitator.

Note: These healing phenomena can also be important for the treatment of burns because the “sealed” wound prevents fluid loss and protects against infection. Pain is often rapidly relieved (4)

The following two cases demonstrate accelerated tissue revitalisation and accelerated wound healing by wheatgrass extract.

Case No. 1 – Split lip for one year. Heals rapidly with wheatgrass extract

Split lip one year. Numerous treatments failed.
Split lip one year. Numerous treatments failed.
Rapid healing after wheatgrass extract applied.
Rapid healing after wheatgrass extract applied.

This 20 y.o. male suffered from a very painful split lower lip for 12 months. Treatments included steroid creams, anti-fungals, antibiotics and emollient creams, but to no avail. However, the wound healed completely just 2 weeks after one application of wheatgrass extract .

One wonders how this long-standing wound could have healed so quickly.

Case No. 2 – Wheatgrass accelerates skin graft recovery

A 50 y.o. businessman suffered a deep dog bite to his lower leg. At operations, a split skin-graft was applied and standard wound management using antibiotic dressings commenced.

Six weeks later the graft had failed to “take”. Note the depressed, rough surface of the purplish grafted skin, (Fig. 1.) due to inadequtae blood supply.

Fig. 1. Skin graft before wheatgrass
Fig. 1. Skin graft before wheatgrass
Fig. 2. Two days later. Note healthy appearance
Fig. 2. Two days later. Note healthy appearance
Fig. 3. Graft completely healed in 3 weeks.
Fig. 3. Graft completely healed in 3 weeks.

The wound was cleansed, wheatgrass extract applied and covered with a light, non-stick dressing. (Melolin). The patient changed the dressing daily,.

Two days later (Fig. 2.) there is already marked improvement. Note the dry surface over the yellow granulation areas where re-epithelialisation has already sealed the wound surface. The depressed areas have now filled in‚ the grafted skin is looking homogeneous and healthy and has blended seamlessly with the surrounding normal skin. (arrows) The dressing was easily removed with no adhesion to the wound surface.

20 days after the first wheatgrass extract application, (bottom) the wound has healed completely. (Fig. 3.)

Exudate contains a high concentration of protein and cellular debris which helps prevent infection and facilitates wound healing. For instance, it contains growth factors without which no wound could heal and, if exudate is loaded with essential healing properties, it begs the question why we wash and sterilise the wound every time there is a dressing change when the brain is overseeing the task. Why should the wound be kept moist if, by so doing, it slows healing?

How Does Wheatgrass Work?

I have wrestled with this question ever since I observed my first remarkable healing experience in 1995. This article probably explains how the extract can be effective in "normalising/curing" so many medical conditions and injuries.

Even in the 1930’s cereal grass juices were seen to rapidly heal pus-filled wounds and increased fertility rates up to 85% were observed in laboratory animals. Another study (5) showed increased production of growth hormone in rats fed green barley (cereal) juice.

Coupled with observation of many thousands of healing phenomena in my clinic and online, often for "incurable" conditions, I have no reason to disbelieve what I am reporting.

References:

  1. Jones, V. & Harding, K. (2001) Moist wound healing . In D. L. Krasner et. al. (Eds.). Chronic wound care. A clinical source book for healthcare professionals. (3rd. ed.) (pp. 245-252). Wayne, PA. HMP Communications.)
  2. Kohler G, Elvehjem C, Hart E. Growth stimulating properties of grass juice Science. 1936. 445
  3. Gruskin B. Chlorophyll – its therapeutic place in acute and suppurative disease. Preliminary report of clinical use and rationale. Am. J. Surg. Jul 1940;49-55.
  4. Badamchian M, Spangelo B, Hagiwara Y, Hagiwara H, Ueyama H, Goldstein A. Alpha-tocopherol succinate but not alpha-tocopherol or other vitamin E analogs stimulates prolactin release from rat anterior pituitary cells in vitro. J. Nutr. Biochem. 1995;6:340-344.
  5. Hawton H. Chlorophyll: a preliminary report of its use in two cases of second and third degree burns. Med. J. Australia 1950; 337-340.
  6. Smith L, Livingston A. Chlorophyll. An experimental study of its water soluble derivatives in wound healing. Am. J. Surg. 1943. 62:358-369.
  7. Bowers W. Chlorophyll in wound healing and suppurative disease. Am. J. Surg. 1947;73:37-50.
  8. Brett D. Chlorophyllin — a healer? A hypothesis for its activity. Wounds. 2005;17(7):190-195
  9. Chernomorsky S, Segelman A. Review article: Biological activities of chlorophyll derivatives New Jersey Med. 1988;Vol85, 8:669-673.
  10. Lam C, Brush, B. Chlorophyll and wound healing. Experimental and clinical study. Am.J.Surg. 1950; 8:204-210.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.

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